Why is the internet so toxic?

Why does everything it touches turn to crap? Hear me out. I have a theory, which is mine, which is clearly supported by the evidence.

It’s the cats.

Open your eyes. What is the internet full of? Cats (and porn, but that’s a different hypothesis*). Cats everywhere.

What are cats? A predatory species that has seen what humans do to every cat with ambitions, like say lions and tigers. They know from experience what we do with the so-called “domesticated” species — we chop off their gonads and feed them the scraps we find unpalatable. They are not our friends. We open up a new environment for colonization, the internet, and what happens? They rush in and take it over first. Then they populate it with traps, wicked memes that will poison our psyche and lead us to destroy ourselves.

It’s so obvious. This is a clear case of inter-specific competition, and if we don’t recognize it, we’re doomed.

*It may be that porn is Homo sapiens defense mechanism against the rising tide of cat photos. God help us all.


  1. wzrd1 says

    I have precisely two counters to feline dominance.
    Flatus and the great bear trap that is my mouth while sleeping.
    Yeah, I’ve tasted way too many feline feet overnight… :/
    At least flatus is properly repellent.

  2. Doc Bill says

    Bastet to my Qat:

    “Do they still worship us?”

    “I shit in a box and they clean it out.”

    “Well done, my child.”

    If you become One with Qat you will experience the intelligence in their eyes, you will wonder how they percieve the world, and how well they know your soul.

    Yes, even a grizzled old spider-loving curmudgeon like PZ would be but a grasshopper, perhaps aspiring to acolyte in their world.

    Oh, Bastet, give me strength to persevere the Ignoratti.

  3. birgerjohansson says

    They are putting up with us until we have helped them to spread through space, like Jones in Alien.

  4. snarkrates says

    Sadly, I am afraid the toxins on the intertubes derive from an altogether more insidious species: homo “not-so” sapiens.

  5. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    Cats are too lazy to be this malicious and too smart and cunning to be this stupid.

  6. JoeBuddha says

    I just find it amusing noting that so many vegetarians’ pet of choice is the most carnivorous.

  7. stroppy says

    “This is a clear case of inter-specific competition, and if we don’t recognize it, we’re doomed.”
    Replacement theory?

    Now if cats had fingers and opposable thumbs…

    Full disclosure: I tend to see cats as an antitoxin, but that’s just me. Some rather prefer spiders.

  8. christoph says

    @whheydt, # 12: Not necessarily. Cats will eat plants occasionally, and one of mine DEMANDS pieces of a chocolate chip cookie if he sees me eating one. Well, sometimes he’ll eat it and other times he’ll just bat it around.

  9. monkeysea says

    It’s the toxoplasmids that share us with the cats. Once the parasite succeeds in your bloodstream (you cat people!), your fear of self-inflicted weirdness & worse just evaporates, like the infected mice lose their fear of cats, you surrender to the cat, the cat takes you as easy prey, you go back into the food chain.

    80% of humans may be infected with toxoplasmosis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2526142/
    The hive minds of the colony of toxoplasmids that you support are in communion with those of the cat(s) with which you associate, making it easier to post cats to the interwebs: that’s what the parasites want: more cats.

    The meek are in line, they’re practically invisible, they’re due to inherit & you’ll be glad to be parasitized.
    However, for esthetic reasons, I prefer to believe (i cannot see it) in a symbiot. That’s what it wants me to think.

  10. mailliw says

    @15 monkeysea

    80% of humans may be infected with toxoplasmosis

    Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling in his book “A Libertarian Walks into a Bear” suggests, only half jokingly, that toxopasmosis may be the root cause of right wing libertarianism.

  11. davidc1 says

    You ,You ,you take that back .There is a medium sized house spider in one of my sheds that I have so far left alone .
    Well ,apart from blowing at him to make him retreat into a gap in the roof .
    But unless you offer an apology to all the world’s cats and their staff , I know one spider who is due to get the mother of all squishing’s ,the choice is yours .

  12. Jazzlet says

    christophe @14
    Obligate carnivores does not mean “can’t eat things besides meat”, it means “must eat meat”.

  13. whheydt says

    Re: christoph @ #14..
    Obligate carnivore: must eat meat. Doesn’t mean “must eat only meat”. Cats require dietary amino acid taurine and that is only found in animal-based food. Just like humans require dietary Vitamin C. Our bodies can’t make it out of other materials, so there has to be some in what we eat.

  14. says

    @21 whheydt
    I think that was the same amino acid Michael Crichton used in Jurassic Park (the novel) to control the dinosaur population. Or it may have been lysine. It’s been almost 30 years and my brain is a bit foggy.

  15. consciousness razor says

    Ray Ceeya, #23:
    It was lysine. I only read the book once, around the time the movie came out, but I’m pretty sure that was in there too.

    According to the Jurassic Park wiki, the only source you’ll ever need for biology information:

    In reality, this would be either impossible or useless. None of the vertebrates (or other animal phyla) can produce Lysine, making it an essential amino acid. All animals (including humans) can survive simply by having a lysine rich diet.

  16. says

    Oh god! There’s a Jurassic Park Wiki? OH MAN! PZ! If you read this it sounds like good video material. I love watching bad science take downs.

  17. consciousness razor says

    I found my old copy of the book. Skimming through it … I had forgotten about how many charts and tables and “code” and other bits of computer output that it has.

    Page 113, this is Wu explaining to Malcolm why they can’t escape the island. First reason: because they’re counted by the computer every few minutes, so they would know (which doesn’t imply they can’t escape, but it is immediately accepted by the chaos theorist). The second reason….

    “Look, we’re not fools. We understand these are prehistoric animals. They are part of a vanished ecology — a complex web of life that became extinct millions of years ago. They might have no predators in the contemporary world, no checks on their growth. We Don’t want them to survive in the wild. So I’ve made them lysine dependent. I inserted a gene that makes a single faulty enzyme in protein metabolism. As a result, the animals cannot manufacture the amino acid lysine. They must ingest it from the outside. Unless they get a rich dietary source of exogenous lysine — supplied by us, in tablet form — they’ll go into a coma within twelve hours and expire. These animals are genetically engineered to be unable to survive in the real world. They can only live here in Jurassic Park. They are not free at all. They are essentially our prisoners.”

    That ends the conversation. No response from Malcolm or anyone else. Just moving on to the control room to start a different conversation.

  18. birgerjohansson says

    Cats need taurin. If you GM your critters to produce taurin and lysine you can have how many predators you want and feed them veggies.
    And if cats (or dinosaurs) dominate the internet ekosystem the cranks, kooks, racists and other weirdos get pushed to the background, together with the flat-Earthers.